On World Mental Health Day 2020 (this past Saturday!), we know that mental health is more important than ever. With the COVID-19 crisis and many additional sources of stress in our lives, many people are experiencing increased symptoms of mental illness or experiencing symptoms for the first time.
World Mental Health Day was created by the World Federation of Mental Health to raise awareness about mental illness and promote easy-to-access mental health care. Mental illness affects 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. It’s common, and nothing to be ashamed of. Treatment for mental health can be life-changing and life-saving.
Because we serve our community by providing mental health services, we see the impact treatment can have on individuals. Which is exactly why we talked to Guild staff about why mental health care is important.
Treatment Helps You Cope with Symptoms
Mental illness can have an impact on your life if left untreated. Mental illnesses cause around 8 million deaths every year and cut an average of ten years off of life expectancy around the world. On average, a person waits 11 years after they first experience symptoms of mental illness to get treatment.
“This means that too many of us are spending a lot of time suffering when there is help available,” says Guild Executive Director Julie Bluhm. “In some cases, it results in tragedy. Suicide is now a leading cause of death in the United States–a tragic outcome of untreated mental health symptoms. Access to services, at the time and place they are needed, could change all of this.”
Services like Guild’s are effective because they “help to assess client needs and align them with appropriate services. They also help people manage symptoms, meet basic needs, and obtain their goals,” says Tammi from Guild’s Community Access team. Community Access helps match clients with the services that they need to get better. Acknowledging your mental health needs and finding treatment for them can help you recover.
Treatment Helps you Meet your Goals
Adam, Team Lead of the TCM Sparrow Team, explains that our mental health is worth prioritizing because it affects everything else we do.
“The individuals we serve can experience mental health impacts in all areas, including housing, employment, finances, and independent living.” When your mental health becomes a challenge, you may struggle with other things in your life.
Especially during the pandemic, mental illnesses, stress, and other mental health concerns can impact your everyday functioning. “The more we are aware of our own stress triggers and the coping skills we can use: eating regularly, getting enough sleep, getting outside, connecting with a friend to talk, taking prescribed medications, going to therapy, the more likely it is we can continue to function and complete the day-to-day activities we need to do to survive,” says Julie. Once those stressors build, they can “interfere in our ability to complete the tasks that keep us functional.”
That’s why we acknowledge the different ways mental illness can affect not just our thinking and emotions, but the rest of our lives, too.
Mental Health Services Make our Community Better
Depression and Anxiety disorders cause around one trillion dollars in lost productivity globally, and 19.3 billion dollars in lost earnings nationally each year. This can have effects on families, workplaces, and communities.
Treating mental illnesses, especially early on, can help prevent mental illnesses from escalating to the point where daily functioning becomes impaired. This makes our communities healthier, happier, and stronger.
“We must start sharing our stories,” says Julie. “Mental health stigma and discrimination leads to shame. When we feel shame we shut down, we don’t talk about it and we do everything we can to avoid it. Too often, this leads to tragedy. Every time someone shares their own personal story of mental health struggle and recovery, it gives others permission and courage to do the same.”
Guild Provides Mental Health Care
At Guild, we know that treatment is important. Our services are person-centered and available when and where clients need it.
“At every level of intensity, from crisis to supportive regular check-ins, our clients decide what they want to focus on to become healthier,” says Julie Bluhm. “Guild’s services help people live their best lives.”
Learn more about Guild’s mental health services. Seeking support? Call (651) 925-8490. We would love to work with you.
Interested in supporting us? Learn about ways to donate.
Mental Health by the Numbers, National Alliance on Mental Illness
Mortality in Mental Disorders and Global Disease Burden Complications, Jama Psychiatry.